Visitors pick olives at KKL-JNF forests.
(photo credit: LEADER PHOTOGRAPHY FOR KKL-JNF)
This year, KKL-JNF’s annual Sukkot olive harvest celebrations took place in Lavi Forest in the north, at KKL-JNF’s Gilat nursery in the Western Negev and at the Tel Hadid olive plantation in Ben Shemen Forest near Modi’in. In the 1950s, olive trees were planted by KKL-JNF in Tel Hadid, a hill that was the site of a Jewish settlement dating back to the biblical time of Joshua, and was later settled by the Hasmoneans. Today one can see a panoramic view of Greater Tel Aviv from the hilltop.
Upon arrival at the site, visitors received an explanation about how to harvest olives without hurting the trees, after which everyone went to the olive groves, where they filled the KKL-JNF distributed plastic jars with freshly picked olives. Some of the children and even a few adults climbed the sturdy branches to the treetops, where most of the olives were to be found. After picking the olives, the next stage was banging them with wooden sticks on boards in order to decrease some of their bitterness. The final stage – soaking the olives in salt water and pickling them until they are ready to eat – is done at home.
According to Mira Zer, KKL-JNF’s Public Relations and Community Coordinator for the Lowlands and Coastal Plain, over 1,000 people from Israel’s central region took part in this year’s celebrations at Tel Hadid, which included, in addition to picking olives, various arts and crafts stations for children and their families, such as making Simhat Torah flags from recycled materials, painting pine cones, seeing a live demonstration of how KKL-JNF’s fire-fighting trucks work, and more. One very special new activity was inviting everyone to help paint a large mural depicting KKL-JNF’s forests, using outdated paints donated by the Nirlat company. KKL-JNF Volunteer Coordinator Yael Banin explained that the idea was to use recycled materials as much as possible, so that the financial and environmental cost of this activity was negligible. “The positive energy it created was amazing,” Yael said, “and we hope to organize similar activities elsewhere in the future.”
Read more about the Sukkot olive harvest at Tel Hadid and see photos